Somehow in central Virginia we have gone from very warm, humid summer weather back to rainy, breezy spring weather. I am not complaining, of course. I am grateful for a short break before the real heat and soul-melting sun begins.
The recent bout of rain and cooler weather has meant wonderful things for our little garden. After my a weeding extravaganza early last week, all of our food producing plants have had plenty of room to grow, and grow they did.
It looks like our strawberry patch will have another large harvest very soon. It was covered in the familiar white blossoms, most of which have become green strawberries. They’ll be ripe for picking in a few short days.
Our lettuce is actually having a second go around for this year’s early season. Last year we had lettuce until about Memorial Day, then not again until late September. It really doesn’t do well under the direct sun of summer. Because of our cooler weather, though, some of the lettuce plants that had gone to seed have actually reproduced! New lettuce plants have sprung up in the patch, giving me fresh green leaf lettuce again.
The zucchini and squash have been doing beautiful things, as well. I see those tell-tale orange-yellow flowers already, and my mouth is salivating at the prospect of making my Nonna’s Patoli, an Italian zucchini fritter that I made in large quantities last summer due to our generous zucchini harvest.
Our final surprise this week was string beans. We officially harvested our first three string beans this morning. The plants themselves are doing well, and have been climbing the trellis Beard fashioned for them out of some pieces of old deck we had in our yard.
I’m glad to say that all of our garden successes (and failures) so far have come with them help of three very important things: water, sunshine, and physical labor. We do not use any chemicals to control our weeds, nor do we use a specific plant food to make them grow faster or bigger.
For weeding we just pluck weeds out as we see the little suckers stick out of the ground. It’s hard work, and probably why organic produce is so darn expensive, but it’s worth it. I know there isn’t anything unsafe hiding in our food.
We have started a compost pile in one of our raised beds, and I hope we’ll be able to use some of that nutrient rich soil next spring. For now, though, we are faithfully adding organics and rotating it manually with a shovel.
Do any of you keep a garden? What are you finding in your garden this week?